51 of 273 Still Hanging on at Spelling Bee

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 2, 7:18 AM ET

WASHINGTON - A spelling whiz from Canada and one from Jamaica advanced to the final rounds of the annual U.S. spelling bee, the only remaining foreign students.

Also among the 51 contestants still standing for Thursday's competition, more than half have competed in the contest before, and a half dozen are home-schooled in the United States.

"I'll just do the best I can," Louisville, Ky., seventh-grader John L.T. Tamplin said Wednesday night after making it through the fourth round spelling "Flamborough." It's an old English sword dance.

Seventh-grader Nidharshan S. Anandasivam wasn't leaving anything to chance.

"I will rest and then review some words," the Brownsville, Texas, boy said as he left the competition Wednesday evening.

Nidharsham was propelled to the next round when he correctly spelled "rodomont," a vain boaster. He said he remembered it from among the 40,000 to 50,000 words he has studied.

The 78th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee started Wednesday with 273 competitors ages 9 to 14.

Most were from the United States and its territories, but 14 were foreign students. There were 11 from Canada and one each from the Bahamas, Jamaica and New Zealand.

Finola Hackett of Tofield , Alberta, mastered "cassowary," large birds related to the emu, and outlasted the 10 other Canadians who competed this year.

Jamaican eighth-grader Stacey-Ann Pearson, who goes to school in St. Andrew, advanced by spelling "lapideous," having the nature of stone.

It was in that round that Dominic Ranz Errazo got a word he could relate to, "emetic," which means inducing one to vomit.

"It sounds like the nervousness I get up here," said the seventh-grader from Goose Creek, S.C. He spelled it correctly.

Each speller wins at least $50. The first-place winner gets $28,000 in cash, scholarships and bonds, plus books from Encyclopedia Britannica. That's about $10,000 more than in previous years.

The contest is administered by E.W. Scripps Co. The youngsters all won local contests sponsored by newspapers.